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Nov 2017

LUCY ALLISON, UK, HALONG BAY AND THE RED RIVER, OCT 2017

The Red River - Up Close and Personal

On Angkor Pandaw we have been,
And wondrous sights we all have seen.
This trip has been a special one,
We've made new friends and had such fun.

We ventured out each day by bus,
With Duoc and Vu in charge of us.
The sights of working life to see,
We drank rice wine and hot green tea.

A shopping game then Duoc us set,
He challenged us, just for a bet.
A list of items we must seek
But only Vietnamese to speak!

A strange assortment we did buy.
What's this said Duoc with startled cry!
A purple fruit held in his fist,
"Most certainly not on the list"!

In Viet Tri town they make a hat
A conical one, where people sat
And showed us how they made them all.
With tiny hands which were so small.

We also watched a dance display.
They dragged Shaun in, to his dismay!
Then all held hands and danced around
Then he was pulled down to the ground!

In Ba Trang town we walked for miles,
And saw ceramics in huge piles.
We also watched a Lion dance
Where some men drummed and others pranced.

A water puppet show we saw
With noisy music and folklore.
A cake factory was also seen
We tasted some, I wasn't keen.

Each evening Dang prepared for us
A special cocktail with no fuss.
In James Bond style he shook not stirred
Which is the way we all preferred.

A gong was rung before we ate
To make quite sure no one was late!
Each meal we had deserved a star.
Chef Hung with Stein was on a par.

With Toan in charge of housekeeping
He oversaw our cabin cleaning.
The beds are made most carefully,
And left pristine for us to see.

For 10 days we've cruised many miles,
And seen this land with endless smiles.
The people have enchanted us,
Xin Chao we practiced on the bus.

We'll all miss Vu's endearing way
Of saying ESCURSION every day!
At all his jokes, we laughed a lot
Some were good and some were not!

A clap of hands must surely go
To the man in charge - our Captain Do
He's steered us all on this great trip
We felt so safe on our small ship.

This sadly is our final day,
Now we are here in Halong Bay.
Please raise your glasses and all say
To this great crew. "Hip Hip Hooray"!

Lucy Allison

Lucy Allison on Vietnam's Red River and Halong Bay river cruise 1
Lucy Allison on Vietnam's Red River and Halong Bay river cruise 2
Lucy Allison on Vietnam's Red River and Halong Bay river cruise 3

Oct 2017

SALLY HIENER, AUSTRALIA, THE CHINDWIN, SEP 2017

Myanmar’s smiles can’t be suppressed, a lasting memory I will have from my first (and not last) trip to Myanmar is of an aching face at the end of the day – from smiling! The trip on the RV Kalaw from Bagan to Mandalay was everything I had dreamt it would be. The crew were exceptional, every one of them from the sailors who cleaned our shoes and helped us disembark and embark, the staff who manned the bar and served at the tables who were also ready with the Myanmar smile and a joke. A special thank you to Myo Naing the purser who went out of his way to make sure everyone had a wonderful holiday. Myo and three other crew took me and another passenger to their favorite tea house one afternoon, a great experience.

It was my birthday on board and I truly appreciated the cake, the entire crew singing happy birthday to me and my special present; it will be treasured always. Only negative I can think of was the 10-minute trip to a silk “factory” followed by over an hour in the retail outlet. In the factory there were 14 – 16 year girls working from 8am till 9pm five to six days a week. Our guide Brian was asked how old the girls were and he said 24. I did not believe this and asked through another crew member who questioned a girl and was told 14 – 16 years old. I understand that children often support families and this is a necessity in some countries, but I also understand that the silk industry is controlled by the “generals” and being forced to spend over an hour in a shop making purchases was unnecessary I thought. Perhaps we could have spent time in a local market as is done on other trips. The trips to the local pottery making village, lacquer-ware workshop and silver workshop were fine, although a lot of the silver jewellery in the shop was Indian not Burmese.

I was told that Pandaw cruises can be habit forming and I can understand why, I know I will be back. Your staff make the cruise so special, but then again so do all the Burmese people I had the opportunity to meet.

Thanks
Sally

Jul 2017

RAEWYN MACKENZIE, NEW ZEALAND, THE MEKONG UNEXPLORED, JUL 2017

The trip was fantastic - I loved it. What a nice way to travel. The boat was lovely and the crew could not have been nicer nor more helpful. You have a great bunch working for you.

Jul 2017

MAUREEN RAYWOOD AND SUSAN NORRIS, UK, HALONG BAY AND THE RED RIVER, JUN 2017

Amazing holiday, we have been on a Pandaw cruise before and couldn't wait to book another one. The crew on board were wonderful, everyone from the captain to the deck crew. The boat was exceptional and so clean, housekeeping was fantastic, plenty to eat and well presented. Peter was wonderful, a bit quick at talking so his English was a bit hard to understand, but get him on a one to one and he could chat to you very well. Lovely man so helpful. Our guide was Ti Fo, wonderful person, so enthusiastic and passionate about his country and people. His love of his culture was very inspiring and he made us look forward to the next tour with anticipation. It was very hot and humid, but the crew members who came with us were well prepared with ice cold drinks and face cloths that had been in the freezer. They were very attentive and helped us on and off the boats, coaches, steps and gang planks. We can't thank them enough. Every member of the crew was always smiling and happy, that it felt like we were among friends rather than staff just doing their job.

We are now looking for our next cruise. We think of Pandaw as two holidays in one. The first, relaxing, calming, lazy if you want to and getting spoilt. The second, the anticipation of going to new places, meeting new people, seeing their country and culture. Ti Fo was excellent in getting us among his fellow countrymen and never got tired of answering our questions. His enthusiasm really rubbed off on us and made us wish the holiday would never end.

Apr 2017

CAROLYN AND CRAIG, NEW ZEALAND, HALONG BAY AND THE RED RIVER, APR 2017

Greetings!

I just wanted to say how fantastic our journey was with Pandaw. We joined the ship on April 1st, and every moment was wonderful for the next 11 days. In particular, we were very impressed with your crew and guides - so professional, personable, and helpful. Tuan and Duoc were fantastic guides, offering insights into Vietnamese culture that were amazing and enlightening.

The excursions, the surprise treats, the variety of experience, and the comforts aboard were all ideal for us. When we needed something a bit out of the ordinary we knew we were in very good hands and trusted your crew and guides in every detail.

Thank you so much for your attention to every small thing. We have been recommending Pandaw to everyone, and hope to perhaps book another trip sometime.

With regards and thanks
Carolyn and Craig

Feb 2017

SUSAN ROCK, UK, MANDALAY PAGAN SHORT CRUISE, NOV 2016

Pushing off from the muddy banks of the Irrawaddy, sipping on a graciously offered Singapore Sling, we read aloud, "Mandalay", by Rudyard Kipling. Comfy in those cushy wicker chairs, we realized that "where the Old Flotilla lay" referred to the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, whose steamers plied this very river's coffee-colored waters through then colonial Burma and that the Katha Pandaw, the finely finished steamer on which we were sailing, was designed and named after one of those earlier vessels.

Of the many means of getting from Mandalay to Pagan, the Katha Pandaw is by far one of the most elegant and genial, evoking the region's colorful past while offering all the creature comforts of modern-day travel. We best enjoyed watching the Myanmar scenery slide by the rails, especially at sunset, but also liked learning about local culture with a well-guided village walk.Food quality and variety issued forth from a small galley was deliciously impressive, and the entire staff, eager to please.

The Irrawaddy Mandalay to Pagan Short River Cruise

For our family's independent land-based exploration, the overnight journey from Mandalay to Pagan was the perfect complement - and certainly a highlight - of our Myanmar travels. Thank you Pandaw!

Sue Rock

Jan 2017

ANDREW WANNAN, AUSTRALIA, THE CLASSIC MEKONG, DEC 2016

The Mekong Classic over Christmas was our first cruise experience of any kind after many years of independent travel and what a way to start. From the moment we stepped onboard the Mekong Pandaw we knew this would be a special adventure. The service and friendliness of the staff was sensational. From the start of the day when Kiri would provide an early riser's tea on the sun deck to watch the sunrise through to the evening meal and entertainment our every wish was catered for. The Mekong was a unique experience, made even better by the special features and character of the ship and fabulous crew.

Andrew and Katrina - The Classic Mekong River Cruise

Many thanks Paul and the Pandaw team for our introduction to river cruises and a special thanks to our Purser Bunthoeun who had a perfect presence and sense of humour.

A memorable experience
Andrew and Katrina

Feb 2016

GERRY MARTIN, CANADA, THE GOLDEN LAND, FEB 2016

Dear Mr. Strachan

My wife and I were on The New Golden Land cruise from February 24 to March 5 sailing from Mandalay to Yangon and the trip was exceptional. Ive written a review on TripAdvisor and won’t repeat that here but I do want to compliment to you the on board staff and the guides. High level excellence all the way around. Thanks to you and Pandaw for a wonderful trip.

Gerry Martin
Terrace, British Columbia
Canada

Feb 2016

KITTY C, USA, MANDALAY PAGAN PACKET, FEB 2016

The trip was great! Pandaw is an excellent company and I would go on another of their cruises in a heartbeat.

Food was good, crew was attentive, cabins very large and lots of deck area to sit and watch the river. I liked the pace of the day- 7-9 breakfast, 9-11:30ish morning expedition, lunch at 12:30, 3-4:30ish afternoon expedition, cocktails at 6:30, 7:15 briefing, dinner at 7:30 and an evening program at 9pm. Plenty of downtime and together time.

The Kindat Pandaw could hold 36 people and we only had 24 people. 24 for one tour guide was about the maximum size. Any more than that and you wouldn't be able to see or hear.

Nov 2015

FRANCES CUNNINGHAM & DR. MAURICE COLLIS, AUSTRALIA, THE UPPER IRRAWADDY, NOV 2015

Dear Marek

I was not sure who to write to at Pandaw, but I was keen to write to you on behalf of myself and my husband following our cruise on the Katha Pandaw that finished on 8 November in Mandalay.

As you are probably aware, early on the morning of 8 November 2015, our cruise boat became grounded on a sandbank in the Irrawaddy. Although the ship's crew made innumerable attempts to get the boat off the sandbank, we were stuck on the sandbank for around 10 hours. As three of us on the boat needed to get back to Mandalay by that evening in order to get our flights out of Mandalay for our next destination, my husband and I and the third passenger, John, were very pleased with the service and care provided by Pandaw Cruises in ensuring that we were picked up by an Irrawaddy fast river boat that was heading downstream towards Mandalay. The Pandaw also organised for one of the crew to accompany us on the fast boat to ensure that we were looked after and that we were picked up by our taxi to transfer to our respective hotels in Mandalay. We would especially to thank the crew member who looked after us so well on our adventure back to Mandalay.

We were very pleased with the exceptional service proved by the Pandaw Cruises, and we would like to express our thanks to Pandaw, and to the company management, and especially to the crew on-board our boat for the care and kindness shown to us.

We had a wonderful time and many memorable experiences on on Mandalay-Katha-Second Defile cruise, and Harry was a great guide for us. Could you please express our thanks to Harry?

We have just boarded the Laos Mekong this morning and we are looking forward to our next adventure up the Mekong with Pandaw Cruises.

With many thanks and kind regards
Dr Frances Cunningham & Maurice Paul Collis